Whoever said that “the best things in life are free” is totally mistaken. They may be free but they don’t come without any obligations, setbacks or drawbacks. Nothing in life is free. I believe that’s the best way to state it. I am an internet geek. I love the internet since the internet offers a lot of free stuffs to its users. I have downloaded like a gazillion of programs, applications, graphics and others online and I was always satisfied. However, this one time, I wasn’t.
I was surfing online one day when I came across a free screensaver advertisement in one of the sites that I was visiting. I hastily clicked on it because it features fishes in an aquarium-like environment. The fishes were very colourful and their background was just lovely. I have always loved fishes and since they came second to my love of the internet, I felt that they should be in my machine. After downloading, I had it installed and minutes later, there were fishes “digitally swimming” on my screen.
However, after a couple of days, I noticed that my computer is behaving strangely. It slowed down and it showed a lot of pop-up messages even if I am not online. The pop-ups all seemed to tell me to have my computer scanned because it is chock full of viruses. I could not believe the message since I had an updated antivirus software, antispyware and firewall. Whenever I try to close the message, another one pops-up. When I click on the ‘OK’ button, my browser opens up and redirects me to a porn site. I can’t seem to get rid of it. I had my computer scanned over and over again but to no avail.
After three days of trying to remove the pop-up messages in vain, I contacted an expert. I may be an internet geek but I can’t really say that I am a computer expert. He did a couple of stuffs on my computer and before he was finished, the pop-ups were gone.
Narrowing down the choice that appears isn’t as easy. Some screensavers claim to be free but will nag you when they start and when they stop. It’s OK to visit a new site once in a while but do you really want to have this forced on you when you get back to your computer and wave your mouse to get rid of the screensaver that appeared? Probably not. So before you go to the trouble of downloading a free screensaver, check the description to see whether it really is free or whether there’s any kind of restriction.
My friend informed me that he found a lot of Trojans on my computer. He said, he did a total clean up. I was confused, how could that happen to my computer when I had all my security software updated almost every day?
The answer that I got was simple: I downloaded too much free stuffs online and the screensaver was the wick that started the fire. All these free programs, application and screensavers had Trojan, spywares and malwares embedded on them which were automatically downloaded to my computer when they were installed. I was warned against these viruses and malicious programs because they can also be used by identity theft criminals. According to my friend, I was lucky that I never became a victim of identity theft despite the volume of spyware on my computer, and all they did was slow my computer down and corrupt some of my files.